February 25th, 2024

4 Ways the COVID-19 Outbreak Impacted Prayer for Italian Christians

Date:

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how Italian Christians pray and live their faith, amid a nation reeling from 7,500 deaths—the highest tally in the world—among 74,000 confirmed cases (second only to China).

During the lockdown, we can no longer gather on Sundays or in-home groups. Social gatherings, travel, and weddings are suspended, as are most businesses. If someone is caught outside their home without a valid reason, there can be a heavy fine.

But this season of exile has helped us discover three facets of prayer we often neglect in times of abundance.

1) Prayer of Lament

Psalms of lament often felt hyperbolic a month ago. For example, Asaph’s complaint that God has made his people “drink tears by the bowlful” could seem overdramatic; David’s cry to God of “How long will you hide your face from me?” was a distant feeling.

But as humanity struggles to contain a fear- and anxiety-provoking pandemic, lament feels newly relevant to all of us. In March 2020, Psalm 44 now sounds pitch-perfect:

Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep?
Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.
Why do you hide your face
and forget our misery and oppression?

We are brought down to the dust;
our bodies cling to the ground.
Rise up and help us;
rescue us because of your unfailing love.

Few Western Christians have experienced poverty, injustice, or persecution. Consequently, our worship usually reflects the moods of resourceful individuals in times of prosperity and peace: composed and mainstream. We do suffer individually; however, seldom is our corporate worship fueled by protest and mourning before God.

Lament is suffering turned into prayer. It’s the worship of people who feel out of balance and out of place. Historically, …

Continue reading

News brought to you by Christianity Today

Share this post

spot_imgspot_img

Popular

More like this
Related

Pandemic Restrictions Had No Lasting Effect on Churches, Study Finds

Even in states where regulations were severe, most congregations moved on quickly. Jeff Schoch was ready to be done with COVID-19 health safety regulations. Like most ministers in the US, the pastor of Crossroads Bible Church in San Jose, California, did his best to comply with the many pandemic rules imposed by state and local governments. But as soon as they were lifted, he wanted to put them all behind him. He quickly tore down the state-mandated signs about social distancing, hand washing, and masks. “I got rid of every visual reminder in the church,” Schoch told CT. “I was anxious, personally, to make that a memory.” Across the country, Protestant congregations are dealing with the long-term impacts of the pandemic. A new, extensive study by Arbor Research Group and ChurchSalary, a ministry of Christianity Today, found that a lot of pastors are still in crisis. Some furloughed staff members haven’t gone back to work. And even when attendance numbers have rebounded, there are still people missing from many congregations. Christian leaders will likely be grappling with the fallout from COVID-19 for years to come. But, surprisingly, state-level pandemic restrictions had no measurable, lasting impact on American churches. Even in places like San Jose—where the county government imposed some of the strictest rules in the country, the restrictions changed frequently, and authorities aggressively went after churches they said failed to comply—pastors like Schoch were able to just move on. The data doesn’t show any adverse effects from the government regulations. Eric Shieh, a research consultant for Arbor Research, said that surprised him. “You would think that the restrictions made things tougher for churches. They didn’t meet as much, and so you’d ...Continue reading...

SCOTUS Allows California to Return to Indoor Church Services

The Supreme Court is telling California that it can’t bar indoor church services because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Largest Christian Radio Company Faces Financial Crisis Due to Coronavirus Downturn

Salem Media, the largest Christian radio company, makes cuts as more churches and ministries pull spending during the pandemic.

COVID-19: Something Has to Break to be Broken, Then Rebuilt

The COVID-19 pandemic may seem like it's breaking us, but what will God do with our brokenness? Go with us on a prayerful walk with the prophet Jeremiah.
X